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Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Launches Fourth Annual “Makers Madness” Contest to Name The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois

By February 2, 2023July 31st, 2023No Comments

February 2, 2023

Nominations Now Open for Bracket-Style Tournament Showcasing Illinois-Made Products

SPRINGFIELD – The state’s diverse and dynamic manufacturing industry will be on display as the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA) launches its fourth annual “Makers Madness” contest, a bracket-style tournament in which the public will decide The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois.

Presented by Comcast Business, the competition celebrates the incredible work of manufacturers across Illinois, which have long served as the backbone of our state’s economy. A recent study found the total economic impact of manufacturing in Illinois is estimated to be between $580 billion and $611 billion every year – the largest share of any industry to the state’s Gross Domestic Product.

Makers Madness Comcast LogoNominations for The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois are now being accepted at, where voting will take place throughout the contest. Any product manufactured in Illinois can be nominated. While qualifying products must be made in Illinois, the manufacturers’ headquarters do not need to be in state. Nominations will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. on February 19. Voting to narrow the field to the Top 16 products will begin February 21, with consecutive rounds of voting taking place each week. The contest will culminate with an awards ceremony on March 29 at the Governor’s Mansion in Springfield, when The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois will be named.

Illinois manufacturers produce everything from life-saving vaccines and medical treatments to boundary-breaking electric vehicles, and components used for space exploration. Our manufacturers keep store shelves stocked with nutritious food and delectable snacks, as well as create sporting equipment used everywhere from neighborhood fields to professional leagues. They make core structural products from steel, rebar and motors to chemicals and flavorings, and even create high-tech gadgets used for national defense and energy to power our homes and businesses.

“This contest is a celebration of the innovation and ingenuity that sets the manufacturing industry apart, as well as the hardworking men and women on shop floors across Illinois who turn dreams into reality. We are excited to spotlight the many amazing products made in Illinois and look forward to a friendly and spirited competition,” said Mark Denzler, President and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “We hope this contest is also a reminder about the importance of investing in American manufacturing to build strong communities and secure economic growth for generations to come.”

To ensure the state’s manufacturing sector remains strong, the IMA is working to pass several measures this legislative session including reforming the state’s biometric information privacy law, modernizing and making permanent Illinois’ Research & Development Tax Credit, creating additional workforce development opportunities and providing tax incentives to spur additional Illinois manufacturing.

“Comcast is proud to sponsor Makers Madness again this year. Not only does it showcase the vitality of Illinois’ manufacturing industry, it puts innovative products and services made right here on display for the world to see,” said Sean McCarthy, Comcast’s Regional Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Initiatives. “We’re also proud to help Illinois manufacturers continue to lead and prosper by providing state-of-the-art connectivity and technology.”

Previous contest winners include Rivian’s all-electric R1T truck made in Normal, the first all-electric truck in production featuring four motors, with one powering each wheel; the Self-Regulating Traffic Signal Heater by Termico Technologies in Elk Grove Village, which uses conductive particles to heat traffic signals so they remain free of ice and snow and traffic can safely navigate our roadways; and the 797F Mining Truck manufactured by Caterpillar, Inc. in Decatur, the world’s largest mechanical truck.

Timeline of events:

  • February 2 – February 19: Nominations accepted at
  • February 21 – March 5: Voting on nominations to determine Top 16
  • March 7 – March 12: First round of voting to determine Top 8
  • March 14 – March 19: Second round of voting to determine Top 4
  • March 21 – March 26: Final round of voting
  • March 29: Winner of The Coolest Thing Made in Illinois announced

About the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association (IMA)

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is the only statewide association dedicated exclusively to advocating, promoting and strengthening the manufacturing sector in Illinois. The IMA is the oldest and largest state manufacturing trade association in the United States, representing nearly 4,000 companies and facilities. For more information, visit

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